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Summary Report of the 2nd Focus Point – MISSION
By Transition Team and Pastor
The Intentional Interim process helps the congregation address five critical areas called “focus points.” They are Heritage, Mission, Leadership, Connections, and Future. Regarding second focus point,Mission, the Transition Team chose to lead Emmaus to identify what they believe to be God’s calling for Emmaus Baptist Church during the next 5-7 years.
Sunday morning September 8, 2019 was designated “Sweet Spot Sunday.” Frederick Buechner says that God’s calling can be understood as the intersection of “what we love to do and what the world most needs done.” The Transition Team calls that “intersection” the sweet spot.
On Sweet Spot Sunday, the TT facilitated a Congregational Conversation during the SS hour in which individual church members were asked to complete a two-part statement:
God is calling Emmaus Baptist Church to ___________________
So that ___________________. (What is the result of part I)
When table groups were finished, “spokespersons” shared highlights with the plenary group. Sweet Spot Sunday concluded with Transition Team members collecting individual responses which were later used to develop the following representation of what the overall church was saying.
“God is calling Emmaus Baptist Church to reach out to our community
so that people experience God’s transforming love in their lives.”
As the statement emerged, the TT recognized quickly that the church is to some degree already addressing this statement through a broad range of “mission activities.”
However, it was equally evident to the TT that fully living into such a calling would require intense focus and serious change. But what does that mean? It is critical to understand the ramifications of delving fully into “reaching out to the community so people are transformed by God’s love.”
In order to promote additional dialogue, the Transition Team turned again to Emmaus members with the question: What would be necessary in order to live into such a bold statement of God’s calling? What does Emmaus need to do, be, or know?
As a first follow-up, Pastor Poole gathered with the youth during a Wednesday ALIVE event to consider this question. Two strong points emerged: Relationships and Authenticity.
Our youth do not want EBC to become trendy and popular for the sake of gaining more people (although that would be helpful.) They want EBC to be a safe space for welcoming people as they are. “The reason we are here is because we know we are loved. Relationships matter most.”
A second follow-up occurred on October 6 as church members gathered around tables and were given the following:
Calling Statement Follow-up
God is calling Emmaus Baptist Church to reach out to our community so that people experience God’s transforming love in their lives.
In order to do this, we will (what do we need to know, do, or discuss)
Participants were given time to write responses and share with their table group. At the conclusion, table groups were invited to share highlights of their discussion with the plenary group. Ideas shared aloud that morning included:
· We must accept responsibility for ourselves individually. We will think, “me” before “we.” “What am I doing to live into God’s calling?”
· We need to seek ways to collaborate and partner with other congregations and entities
· We will seek to understand our community, culture, and the unchurched. Likewise, we will seek to understand ourselves, our congregation, and how God is being revealed in our time and place.
Additional comments gathered included:
In addition, the following comments were offered on October 6”
· We need to know who doesn’t believe and/or who needs God in their life
· Host more outreach dinners and with county and other churches
· Discuss how we can go further in the county or out of the county
· Grow our congregation
· Have more community events
· Discuss how to welcome new people. Pray
· Who we are targeting; focus on unchurched; talk to neighbors
· Outreach activity
· Communication (mailing)
· Who are our neighbors; what do they need; what can we do (church at Food Lion and church artwitie(?)
· Participate in community events as a group from Emmaus to become more visible
· Pray more for the unchurched
· More emphasis on local missions
o Abused women’s shelter (need clothing, furniture, person to person contact)
o Visit Cumberland Hospital
· God to lead us
· Local missions
· New abused women’s shelter in NK
· Visit children at Cumberland Hospital
· Invite others to church; talk about God and our church in a positive way
· Hands-on mission – more than giving money or goods
· Give brochures to people who come – activities
· Partner with other churches; have community dinners; be better neighbors; pray for un-churched
· Have more community dinners and join with other churches to host dinners
· Increase awareness of events at church such as VBS and Bible Study
· What does God want us to do
· What are the county needs and family needs
· Walking through neighborhoods
· It means to spread the love to other people
· Tell other people about God; bring more people to church, more community service
· Network with other congregations and groups
· Study the benefits of adapting to change and reality
· Focus on unchurched
· Try to understand our community, the unchurched and ourselves better
· Bring in more people to church
· Talk more about God
· Spread God’s word
· Have community outreach
· Co-lab with other churches
· Continue with community activities
· As more people to come
· Talk to people about it
· Have more events / more community services
Note: This summary report adopted by the church on October 23, 2019 is a primary resource to be used as Emmaus Baptist Church identifies her new pastor and charts her future.
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